PGA Junior squad hoping to roll again | SteamboatToday.com
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PGA Junior squad hoping to roll again

Haymaker Golf Course is set to open for the 2016 season on Friday.
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— The calls actually started last autumn. They slacked off through the winter, of course, but returned with the ferocity of a snowmelt-laden river as spring approached.

A collection of Steamboat Springs’ golf courses put together a PGA Junior team last year, a squad of 9- to 13 year-olds who amounted to an all-star team from the athletes who competed at each individual course.

That team had a remarkable run of success, winning against squads from around the state first, then around the region, eventually earning a trip to a regional final in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The news got out, and more young players wanted it.

“Our sign-ups were awesome. Our participation was great,” said Andrew Donner, one of the program’s organizers.

So, this summer, they’re in.

The program recently finished a round of local competition, pitting 10-player teams from each of the four local courses — Haymaker Golf Course, Steamboat Golf Club, Catamount Ranch and Club and Rollingstone Ranch and Club — against each other. Each course played host to a day of play, and after it was all finished, an all-star team was selected, led by the squad from Rollingstone, which came away on top of the round-robin format.

Now that squad hopes to trod down the same path of victories last year’s team did.

It will play nine-hole matches with two-player scrambles, and the action gets underway Monday against Grand Junction.

So far, so good, Donner said.

“Last year, we would run into soccer tournaments and things like that, but this year, kids were really making it a priority to play,” he said. “We had really good turnout, even to the point where we had a waiting list for kids to play.”

Last year’s trip also started against Grand Junction. Steamboat won that head-to-head showdown, then beat a Front Range team, as well.

Even Steamboat’s coaches were a bit surprised when the squad won its next round, traveling to Taos, New Mexico, to play a team from El Paso, Texas.

“It was an unbelievable experience and probably a little surprising, being a mountain town,” Donner said.

The team’s run finally ended in the four-team regional tournament stage, but that did little to quash enthusiasm for this season.

“The good news is we’re all more prepared for what could happen,” Donner said.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9


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